Every year we purchase feeder calves and feed them for the winter. Normally this runs from October/November to March/April. We sell the livestock in hopes to make some money, which is never guaranteed. But even if we lose money, we will be able to feed our family beef. The reason is that our family always keeps back a couple head of cattle to have butchered.
What this means is that we trust the way we are raising our cattle enough to eat the beef ourselves. Both my spouse and I were raised with beef as a staple in our home. (pork just the same) We both feel quite blessed to have such a delicacy as beef in our meal plan. Feeding our family beef from our own farm has a rewarding feeling to it as well.
Some of you may be thinking it's "free beef" for our family. Well it's not and I want to share with you just how much a heifer costs these days. This year cattle are/were at an all time high, over $1,000 per head. Then we have expenses of feed, vet bills, and to have it processed to eat.
In farming there is risk as well as feeding cattle. Here's a peak into our situation in the past. This year alone we lost six due to various illnesses. It wasn't by lack of care or us not treating them when ill. It just happens and we have to trust that it will all work out in the end. To help you understand our risk, we lost approximately $6,000 that we never recouped. All from some of the cattle dying.
This blog is to educate and we believe that educating means putting oneself out there to some degree. If that means we need to share some dollar amounts, number of acres, or a tad of personal information to get the point across we will. That's why we are sharing that previous information which some might seem too much. Now that we said that, let’s get back to the process of getting beef into the freezer!
After the couple head of cattle have been fed till late June they are loaded up and taken to our local locker. No, not a gym locker, it's a beef locker or butcher shop or slaughtering house. Whatever you call it in your neck of the woods, around here we call it a meat locker.
At this location the animal is butchered and the meat is cut to our desire. We pay the meat locker to process the beef. Our white packages are ready for pickup approximately 2 to 3 weeks after the cattle is hauled to the locker.
The cattle vary in weight and the amount of beef can be distributed in sections such as a quarter, half, or full. To see how the beef can be cut you might want to check out Angus Beef Chart. I found it interesting to see where my roasts, steaks, and other types come from on which part of the heifer.
Our family of three normally gets a quarter of beef. On occasion we split another quarter of beef if it’s available. Our family eats this type of meat often and we cook at home a great deal. Our diet also includes chicken and pork but those are bought at the grocery store.
One of the reasons we chose to write this piece is to share that we do treat our animals if they are ill, and we do vaccinate them when they arrive. We eat beef from the same herd of cattle that we sell from. We find reward and pride in the fact that we can feed our family and others quality meat.
Our philosophy is that each person is entitled to their own opinion. For every person that wants to eat meat there's probably one that doesn't. For every person that wants to only partake in hormone free/antibiotic free (Insert your choice of meat), there is a family down the road that would just like to feed their family anything other than rice and beans.
We find in this world today many people are being disrespectful, not telling truth about farming practices, and listening only to what is in their newsfeed. They don't take the time to educate themselves prior to sharing a post that pops up in their newsfeed. It's not everyone but it's a lot of people. Please research before you share or believe completely based on what social media or media tells you.
Our blog is here to tell a legacy, a story, inform about our farming operation, and to bring rural living into a home of someone not currently associated with it. We will stand up for what we feel is right and the truth, but we will do it in a respectful manner. We will educate ourselves to provide accurate answers. We only ask the same from others.
If you have questions please feel free to email us or check out our Facebook page. If we do not know an answer, we are lucky to know many people in the agriculture industry that will help us. We appreciate you stopping by!
Julie & Milton